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Bill Nelson (D)
Bill Nelson (D) is launched back into the lead
Quinnipiac. 6/12-18. Registered voters. MoE ±2.8% (3.7% for Republican primary sample). (5/15-21 results in parentheses, 3/20-26 in brackets):
Bill Nelson (D-inc): 43 (41) [44]
Connie Mack IV (R): 39 (42) [36]
Undecided: 15 (15) [17]

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 45
Mike McCalister (R): 34
Undecided: 18

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 47
Dave Weldon (R): 31
Undecided: 19

Connie Mack IV (R): 41 (40)
George LeMieux (R): 8 (7)
Mike McCalister (R): 5 (8)
Dave Weldon (R): 3 (--)
Undecided: 39 (41)
Quinnipiac's Florida polling has been erratic this year, almost yo-yo-like in its alternation between decent Democratic leads and predictions of Democratic disaster. This month's sample catches the Democrats on a bit of an upward bounce, with Barack Obama and incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson both with serviceable but not hugely confidence-inspiring leads. Obama leads by a 46-42 margin over Mitt Romney here, a turnaround from Qpac's previous poll, which gave Romney a surprising 47-41 lead (but which came under criticism for having an overly Republican sample compared to actual registration numbers). It's not as good as March's sample, though, where Obama was up by 7.

The same dynamic is at work in the Senate race, where a 1-point lead for Republican Rep. Connie Mack last time is now a 4-point lead for Nelson. The conventional wisdom on this race seems to have settled into a "Lean D" mindset (which is how Daily Kos Elections currently), so even the 4-point margin seems a little surprising to those with short memories (case in point, Politico's Morning Score referred to today's sample as showing the race "tightening"). But Quinnipiac has always seen this as a closer race than other pollsters like PPP and Suffolk, who've always seen a spread in the 8-12 point ballpark; Quinnipiac saw it as a 1- and 2-point race in their November and January samples. So, according to the lenses through which Quinnipiac sees Florida, this is actually a fairly good result for Nelson.

As far as the GOP primary is concerned, there's little reason to expect anything other than a Mack nomination. The dropout by George LeMieux—who was briefly the state's appointed senator, and who was running the strongest against Mack—several days ago clinches that. This is the first poll we've seen accounting for the recent addition of ex-Rep. Dave Weldon (who represented only 1/25th of the state, and who unlike, Mack, doesn't have a famous last name), but as expected, he seems to have had absolutely no impact on the field at all.

The one troubling note to this poll is that Nelson isn't overperforming Obama this time, which Nelson has done in almost every poll that we've seen before; they're both running 4 points ahead of their opposition. In red states and slightly-reddish swing states, Democratic Senate candidates naturally need to run well ahead of the presidential numbers. Nelson is sort of a Generic Democrat—a guy with a good personal brand (with 44/26 favorables), but not someone that people tend to feel strongly about one way or the other—and that does suggest that Nelson's fate may be more strongly intertwined with Obama's than in many other Senate races. If Obama winds up narrowly losing Florida, this Senate race could also wind up being closer than we'd like.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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